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Burnley v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship

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What do Sunderland need to do to reach the Championship Playoffs?

With Sunderland’s play-off hopes still alive, we’ve taken a look at history to see what the Black Cats need to do to make the top six.

Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images

Sunderland currently sit in tenth on 58 points, four points behind sixth-placed Blackburn Rovers with five games remaining in the season.

A look at previous Championship seasons says a minimum of 70 points is usually needed to finish in the top six.

In fact, since 1995 only one team has finished in the playoffs with less than 70 points, this was Leicester in 2013 as the Foxes finished with 68 points.

In recent seasons, the Championship’s sixth-placed teams have outperformed this 70-point benchmark. Luton finished on 75 points last term with Bournemouth amassing 77 points the season before that.

Sunderland v Luton Town - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Michael Driver/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Whilst that may look bleak for Sunderland fans, it seems unlikely there will be a repeat of that this season, with sixth-placed Blackburn and fifth-placed Millwall going through patchy runs of form.

All this means that to have a fighting chance Sunderland will likely have to win four out of our five remaining games.

These five games include three matches against fellow play-off hunters, in the form of West Brom, Watford and a potentially huge final day clash against Preston at Deepdale.

Both West Brom and Watford currently sit just behind Sunderland in the table, albeit the Baggies do have a game in hand, whilst Preston are in seventh, only outside the top six on goal difference.

Whilst it does seem likely Sunderland will fall just short this campaign, Tony Mowbray’s men have shown on many occasions this season they are capable of the unexpected - and given the Championship’s famous unpredictability, who knows what will happen between now and the end of the season.

On This Day (9 June 2007): Midfielder turns down Sunderland return – and heads to Bolton instead


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